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Why pop-up shops are not just for start-ups

The UK has seen a 110% increase in independent stores in the past five years, according to recent research published by EE and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

And what's interesting is that the pop-up shop in particular is providing a significant boost to the UK economy, contributing £2.3bn a year and with revenues growing by 12.3% last year in this sector.



The UK is currently home to more than 10,000 pop-ups and the report reveals that it's not just start-ups that are interested in the pop-up concept; many established businesses are also keen to open up a pop-up extension of their current business.



Pop-up stores are a flexible add-on to a fixed retail space. They can serve as an extra outlet for your best-selling products or a short-term retail space allowing you to connect with new audiences and test out new products in new areas.



For a growing business, this is a prime opportunity and, as this latest research shows, there's no need to miss out on the pop-up trend just because you already have an established business.


If you want to grow your small business, testing the market with a pop-up extension is a great way to start. But there are two key things to consider before doing so:



1. Handling transactions


Pop-up businesses cannot rely on a cash point machine being nearby. Consumers now pay by card more than they have ever done before; they will expect to be able to pay by card, so don't lose business by only accepting cash.



All retail businesses, pop-ups included, need to invest in an electronic point of sale terminal (ePOS) and card machine. Not only is this more convenient to your customer but this will also limit the liability that comes with storing cash at your temporary premises or in a vehicle overnight.



2. Gathering customer data


It's important to manage a pop-up with the same proficiency and standard of customer service as you would with a permanent, established business. Aim to capture as much data as possible and analyse it; learn what works and what doesn't and tweak your business strategy accordingly.



Wherever you are selling your goods, you should be able to ascertain when to offer discounts and how to target them and be able to track inventory to make sure you always have the right stock. This doesn't have to be difficult; you'll find plenty of low-cost business apps available via the cloud that you can access from anywhere.



Running a pop-up on a short or long-term business will no doubt be a valuable learning experience. We recently ran a survey across 1,000 UK small business owners and found that that one third of respondents set up their own business because they wanted something more "exciting" than a normal day job - the pop-up phenomenon offers just that.



Copyright © 2015 Raj Sond, general manager of First Data Merchant Solutions.

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